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Counting Charitable Sponsored Program Activity

  • 1.  Counting Charitable Sponsored Program Activity

    Posted 20 days ago

    For many years we've had a process in place for vetting and counting charitable transactions that flow through our sponsored programs (OSP) group here at Emory (these are what some folks call "grants", but a term I avoid). Greatly simplified, our process is to read over all non-government OSP transactions to see what is charitable, book a pledge in Advance that does not flow to the ledger, and then run queries against the ledger for payments to relieve those pledges (again we do not book these to the ledger). As you can imagine, this process is slow and laborious and of questionable actual value and materiality to advancement. While we still need to capture this activity in the end for charitable activity reporting, I don't think this is the right way anymore.

    My thought is to ignore the awards and just book when we see payments, essentially skipping the plug pledges we were booking and waiting until cash arrives. My question to the group is if anyone is doing either the process we are currently doing or the one I am proposing. I'm concerned that the delay between award letters and subsequent payments will be significant and cause agita from our fundraisers who are used to our booking based on the initial award letter. Thank you.


    Josh Greenbaum
    Executive Director, Advancement Information Svcs
    Emory University

  • 2.  RE: Counting Charitable Sponsored Program Activity

    Posted 20 days ago
    Josh, I agree with you 100%.  I have, in fact, recently suggested the same protocol to two institutions - which is precisely what we did at Duke and NC State.  We waited until a payment came in the door, and THEN reviewed the award letter.  Not to book a pledge and a payment, but to verify the countability of the award.

    Back in the olden days, a few of those award letters reflected a binding multi-year pledge.  If the letter mentioned that when we received the first payment, I would book a pledge.  But so often these days, sponsored research grants contain escape clauses in their award letters that nullify the opportunity to book a multi-year commitment.

    Anyway, your fundraisers will get over the delay.  After all, what matters most - and matters ONLY for VSE - is having the cash anyway.


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987

  • 3.  RE: Counting Charitable Sponsored Program Activity

    Posted 20 days ago

    Hi Josh,


    We book only as payments are received. We get a monthly report from our OSP group and book based on that.


    There were instances where fundraisers insisted we book based on award letter (especially at the end of the fiscal year) but then once everything was finalized we would have to go back and make adjustments. We have made it a firm policy now that we will not book until we get the official report from OSP, even though this does cause delays across months and fiscal years.



    Jodie M. Ralston
    Executive Director, Advancement Services
    Advancement and External Affairs

    T 315.420.1490

    Syracuse University Forever Orange The Campaign for Syracuse University